Svengali! . . . Svengali! . . . Svengali!

Svengali! . . . Svengali! . . . Svengali! by George du Maurier. This illustration, which appears in English Society along with du Maurier’s cartoons from Punch, depicts the deathbed scene from his best selling novel Trilby. It includes many of the details found in his famous cartoons of life among the upper middle classes and the extremely wealthy, such as the decorative screen and framed painting, but Svengali! . . . Svengali! . . . Svengali! has far more drama than the cartoons drawn in a similar style, because du Maurier uses compositional techniques derived from religious and historical painting. The angle at which the two men lean in at right, balancing that of the woman at left, create a pyramidal composition that echoes Trilby's raised knee. The postures of those around the deathbed and the glances directed at the dying woman, create am energized, dramatic image.

Scanned image and text by George P. Landow [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


English Society. Sketched by George du Maurier. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1897.

George du Maurier. Trilby. New York: Harper and Brothers, d?.

Created 5 July 2001

Last modified 5 May 2020